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‘Safe City project in keeping with latest trends’

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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BACK in 2021, the government resolved to award a 600 000 000 Chinese Yuan (about US$83 million or M1, 5 billion at today’s exchange rate) “Lesotho Safe City Project” tender to Chinese technology giant, Huawei.

Funded through a concessional loan by the Export-Import Bank of China to the Lesotho government, the project entails the installation of surveillance cameras and data management systems, the construction of a data management centre and command centre, other digital equipment in Maseru and other parts of the country as part of efforts to help the police fight rampant crime in the country.

It also entails the provision of digital communications equipment to the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).

Phase one of the project is supposed to be implemented in Maseru before being spread to other parts of the country.

In an interview, former Police and Public Safety principal secretary, Retired Colonel Tanki Mothae, waxed lyrical about the proposed project, saying it was the perfect antidote to rampant crime which had seen Lesotho top the murder statistics in Africa and rising to sixth in the world for homicides in 2021.

He said once the electronic surveillance systems had been set up to police citizens, the LMPS would be able to capture criminal activities in real time. This would help the police to easily detect crime and identify criminals.

“Other security agencies will also be able to use the system to identify national security threats. It makes countries secure for citizens and investors by fighting different forms of crime. It also detects traffic offences and even serves as a first-hand warning of emergencies such as burning buildings, riots and other forms of accidents,” Rtd Col Mothae said.

Despite concerns in some quarters that the project would lead to serious erosion of individual rights, particularly the right to privacy, Rtd Col Mothae said this would not necessarily be the case. The idea was to protect lives and not necessarily to spy on every details of their lives, he said.

In implementing the project, Lesotho would only be following in the footsteps of other countries in seeking to create a secure, crime-free atmosphere for its people.

As shown below, two of Lesotho’s fellow SADC countries have begun implementing similar projects and these could provide useful lessons for the Kingdom when it eventually implements its own project.


Under the Botswana Safe City Project, 500 surveillance cameras have been installed in Botswana’s two major cities, the capital Gaborone and Francistown by Huawei.

According to Botswana Police Services spokesperson, Dipheko Motube, the cameras monitor the streets, residential areas as well as commercial buildings.

“The project aims to secure life and property of the two cities’ residents as well as countering terrorist activities effectively and efficiently. The cameras will enable Botswana police to effectively deliver policing to citizens of Botswana through the use of advanced and world-class gadgets,” Mr Motube said.

He said the anticipated reduction of criminal activities will make Botswana attractive to investors thereby creating the much needed job opportunities in the nation.


The Zambian government has already commissioned the National Command Centre as part of its US$210 million Public Security System Safe City Project. It is aimed at having a unified communication system to enhance security and peace in the country through installation of street cameras in key places across the country.

Besides the National Command Centre, three other projects have been achieved under the Safe City Project. These include the construction of 36 communication towers, the installation of radio communication systems and a video surveillance system. Street cameras have been installed in Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone.

Home Affairs and Internal Security minister, Jack Mwiimbu, said the unified communication system will prevent crime by providing reliable and comprehensive security measures.

Through the Safe City Project, law enforcement agencies would be capacitated to predict threats, Mr Mwiimbu said.